Sexual harassment is an increasingly sensitive issue, as women in growing numbers turn to the courts to protect them from aggressive sexual advances.
Now, scientists say, the matter may be about to take on proportions beyond the merely human.
The researchers reported evidence that some female guppies, a popular aquarium fish, risk their lives to avoid unwanted male attention.
The study, by Darren Croft of the University of Wales, Bangor, and colleagues, appears in the June issue of the research journal American Naturalist.
Male guppies constantly pester females for sex, displaying their colors in mating dances and battling each other for access to the females.
“But if his courtship displays don’t impress her, males will attempt to sneak a mating with her when she is not looking,” Croft said.